I’m the child of Hispanic immigrants. I was raised by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago and had to work to help the family, including my time at a meatpacking plant where I received an extra dollar an hour because I spoke English and Spanish. Like many children of immigrants I got my shot at the American Dream through education and military service. I studied hard and was the first in my family to go to college, getting into Harvard. But like many kids from working-class families, I struggled to fit in at Harvard. I felt more at home when I joined the Marine Corps.

After graduating, I served in Iraq with Lima 3/25, a unit that saw one of the highest casualty rates of the war. My unit was so hard hit because Congress had failed to allocate resources for the armored vehicles we needed. We were rolling around Iraq in amphibious assault vehicles that offered no protection to roadside bombs. We knew it and the insurgents knew it, but Congress wasn’t doing anything about it.

Today, we know that many of the men and women I served with in Iraq are facing deportation, even after they served their adopted country in combat. We know that children of immigrants who study hard, get great grades and want the same opportunity I got to go to college can’t go because of a decision made by their parents years ago. We know that the federal government is breaking up families rather than going after actual criminals. And we know that workers playing a vital role in our economy don’t get the protections all working Americans should.

Our immigration issues are so multifaceted that the only solution that will work is comprehensive immigration reform. Everyone seems to recognize this, but yet again Congress isn’t doing anything.

In Arizona, I’ve been a passionate advocate for comprehensive reform. In Washington, I’ll take it to the next level. We don’t just need people who will vote the right way. We need people who will put pressure on opponents of comprehensive reform and call out the Obama Administration for its wrongheaded and hurtful deportation policies.

I will do that without losing sight of the ultimate goal: comprehensive reform. To me, we can’t call any immigration bill comprehensive reform unless we:

  • Enact the DREAM Act
  • Stop deporting non-criminals and breaking up families
  • Provide temporary protected status for those already living here who do follow the law
  • Develop a pathway to citizenship
  • Secure the border
  • I know there are special interests that would prefer to keep the broken system. But the stakes are too high for too many Americans for Congress to fail to act. Comprehensive immigration reform is achievable and I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.